Message from the President – Winter 2019
With the new year in full swing, The Bank that Listens® reflects on the accomplishments of the past year and surmises what's to come in 2019.
This time of year is often bittersweet as we say goodbye to the closing year and all that we've achieved during that time, and say hello to a new year full of promise and potential.
2018 was certainly an exciting and busy year at SIS! Now that I have completed my first full year as the President and CEO of SIS Bank, my perspective has grown with affection each day. I continue to be humbled by the generosity and the tireless efforts of our employees as they work to find the right solutions for our customers and support our communities. Outside of meeting the loan and deposit needs of the communities that we serve, there are several accomplishments for the year worth noting.
Throughout 2018, I had the pleasure of working as a committee member of the Sanford Schools Legacy Foundation (SSLF) which has a fundraising goal of $2,000,000. Aside from developing leads and making many calls to community leaders, SIS Bank made a significant five-year commitment of $130,000 which earned the bank naming rights or sponsorships for the Alumni Stadium and the competition gymnasium at the new Sanford High School and Regional Technical Center. The Bank has also pledged to help Sanford High School to create a comprehensive financial literacy program for its students. It has been a terrific opportunity to work with community members who truly care about education and the communities the new school will serve, especially knowing that Sanford's students will be able to develop their social and academic skills, as well as participate in athletic programs for years to come in a state-of-the-art facility.
Moreover, the SSLF was far from the only organization we donated to in 2018. In total, we gifted over $250,000 to well-deserving, local charities and groups including: Animal Welfare Society, Grahamtastic Connection, the New Hampshire Theatre Project, Southern Maine Veterans Cemetery, Sanford-Springvale YMCA, United Way, York County Shelter and The Maine Children's Cancer Program, to name a few. Not to mention our annual scholarships to graduating seniors in New Hampshire and Maine, and another donation of 900 gallons of fuel to families in need of heat during the beginning of 2018's winter season. Additionally, there are thousands of volunteer hours that Bank employees have committed to well over 50 organizations. Many serve as board members or other leadership capacities in each of these non-profit organizations.
Lastly but not least, as The Bank That Listens, we are always working to ensure our platforms are updated and offer the latest features our customers want. This past year, we added to our mobile wallet apps to our mobile banking options. Customers can now use their SIS Bank Debit MasterCard without even taking it out of their wallet, thanks to our addition of Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay and Google PayTM options.
So, what's in store for 2019? While we have a lot of goals for the coming year, I am especially excited about three: a new website design, a new online banking system and a major increase in our donations budget.
We have paid attention to the requests of our customers through the past year and have plans to update our website for optimal user-friendliness. We will be focusing on creating a cleaner, more simplified look and navigation system so that our customers can find the information they are looking for with even more ease. Similarly, we will be making updates to our online banking system to ensure the experience is more efficient and much more convenient for all our customers.
Lastly, it is with the greatest pleasure that I announce we have been able to increase our donations and economic development budget to 10% of the Bank's net income. This translates to a 4% increase over the previous year. I can't help but already start imagining all the great work we are going to be able to do with our communities. Whether it's an event sponsorship to help bring our community members together, a downtown improvement project, or a donation made to help a local, deserving charity build on their services and reach more people in need; we are proud to continue to support our mission as a partner to our communities.
As I look back in the rear-view mirror over the past year, it is clear to me that the strongest and best asset we have here at SIS Bank are its employees. I am truly thankful to help lead an organization that partners well with each other, our customers and every community that we serve.
Here's to another year of prosperity, partnership and support from your favorite, local bank!
Blaine A. Boudreau
Cache's Corner: The 'Top Dog' Technology of 2018
Happy New Year! 2018 was a pretty interesting year for technology buffs like me. Yes, there were some tech-related mishaps, but there were also many major advancements in technology that have changed our world for the better. While my humans were busy exchanging gifts and feasting with family over the holidays, I scurried off to do some digging (first on the internet, later outside in our backyard - gee I hope I can find that bone I hid).
There have been many technological advancements during the past year, from small gadgets to big data technologies. Too many, in fact, to list out completely. Instead, I decided to focus on five technologies that have made a major, positive impact on society, all in different ways.
AI & Machine Learning
While not new to 2018, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies became mainstream this past year. From your smartphone to your car, to household appliances and other smart home products like Echo and Google Home; to healthcare and workforce practices, and even how we file our taxes, we saw an immersion of AI technology in many of the everyday products we use. The machine learning capabilities of AI technology (such as Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant voice control) have allowed us to streamline our work, have helped us to connect and communicate better, and have improved our lives overall!
Another technology that was not new to 2018 but became a norm for our culture is augmented reality and virtual reality - and not just in gaming! (Remember the craze of Pokemon Go?! Even Walking Dead has an AVR game now!) National Geographic launched its Air Land & Sea AVR initiative, which allows viewers to get a 360-degree up-close-and-personal view of different parts of the world, and many retail brands picked up AVR as a way to showcase their products and let customers fully envision what they would look like on themselves or in their homes. AVR technology even helped to bridge gaps in humanity, with a snow globe game brought to children who had to be in the hospital over the holidays. The children would put on the AVR goggles and watch as they became part of the snow globe, playing with the characters within.
Screen Time Apps
This one sounds like an oxymoron - technology that helps us disconnect from technology. But as the saying goes (or so I'm told by my humans), too much of anything can be a bad thing. Which is why Apple's Screen Time and Google's Digital Wellbeing apps have made it to my list of technology that has improved our lives! Whether you're an Apple user or an Android user, you can now monitor how much time you spend on your phone daily and weekly, including which apps occupy most of your time. You can also see how many times you pick up your device in a day, how many notifications you get and read from your apps, and you can set controls and limits for app usage. Many of us are guilty of getting sucked into our devices and these new measures will help us all to maintain real-life relationships with our real human pals (and dogs, in my case).
Google Pixel Buds
And speaking of communication, 2018 was the year we finally bridged the translation gap for humans speaking different languages. (They do not, however, translate between dog and cat language. Clawdia and I tried.) Google's Pixel Buds connect via Bluetooth® to a smartphone and the speaker and listener can experience practically real-time translation. One human wears the earbuds while the other holds the phone, and the app will translate the human who's talking and play it aloud on the phone. Priced at just $159, this useful technology is accessible and affordable to the everyday human.
Space, the final frontier (whatever that means...). I have noticed my humans staring up at the skies at night and pointing to different star clusters, wondering in awe what could possibly be out there. (I tried asking the universe, but they said my howling was too loud and would wake the neighbors.) And while curiosity killed the cat (hint hint, Clawdia), it seems nothing will stop the passion of humans at large to find out more about space and whether we can live out there. 2018 saw the emergence of many new spaceflight technologies, including the NASA InSight Lander. This spacecraft made a successful six-month journey and landing on Mars and will be the first probe ever to study the planet's interior. The InSight Lander technology even gave us the first recorded sounds on Mars! Maybe living on Mars isn't as far off as we think. I can picture it now - Cache, the Space Cadet! (My humans have already given me this nickname, anyways.)
Looking back at 2018, there were some 'ruff' times for technology. But, there were also many instances where the advancement of technology truly helped us all to connect and communicate better.
After all, that's what technology is supposed to do—help us be better, and live better lives. It's why I love technology so much; it brought me and my family together.
'Til next time,
Your pawsitively pawesome pal Cache
SIS Bank Hires Jeff Hoerth as Newest Mortgage Consultant
SIS Bank is pleased to announce the hiring of Jeff Hoerth as its newest Mortgage Consultant. In this position, Hoerth will be responsible for analyzing SIS Bank loan applications, underwriting mortgages and completing the mortgage loan processing and closing. Hoerth will be working from the Bank's Portsmouth, NH office.
Hoerth has over 30 years of experience in banking and in business ownership and management. His unique background provides an advantage to SIS Bank home loan applicants, because he has a varied skill set and a practical understanding of the loan process. Within the banking industry, he last served as the Assistant Vice President, Mortgage Department for National Grand Bank of Marblehead, MA. Hoerth attended Amherst College.
Additionally, Hoerth has a passion for youth development and is currently a member of several sport booster committees in the Marshwood, ME school system as well as a current chairperson of the South Berwick Recreation Committee. In the past, he served as a frequent math tutor volunteer for the Marshwood Central School, the Marshwood Great Works School and for Marshwood Middle School. Hoerth was also a member of the Children's Leadership Council and was involved in the planning and construction for a toddler's playground in South Berwick, ME and for the "Outdoor Classroom," including the hoop house, for Central School.
Hoerth will be a regular attendee at the West End Business Association.
"Jeff's varied experiences in business and banking, including his own personal experiences with loan processes, will certainly help our customers to get the right loan they need to achieve their goals," said SIS Bank President & CEO Blaine Boudreau. "Welcome to the SIS Bank team, Jeff!"
From Veterans to Heroes – A Bundle for All
Several years ago, SIS Bank created a bundle of products and services designed especially for our Veterans. Now, we've expanded upon that bundle, extending it to all of our heroes, which now include first responders.
If you're a police officer, firefighter, or even an EMT, SIS wants you to get more for your banking with newly designed "Heroes Bundle." This even applies to employees of each industry as well!
With the Heroes Bundle, experience many of the great benefits that were included in the Veterans Bundle, including a Heroes Checking and Savings account with special relationship rates. These, of course, include free ATM access*, fee-free SIS Debit MasterCard®, discounts on local attractions, free financial seminars, and so much more!
Complete handouts, brochures, and posters will be available soon, but be sure to stop into your local branch today to learn more. You are our heroes, and you deserve to have your banking treat you as such!
*Use another bank's ATM and SIS will rebate the service fee charged by other banks if you have an SIS Debit MasterCard®.
900 Main Street
Sanford, ME 04073